Stories by Katie Paine

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Your Metrics are Junk, Celebs are Toxic and Other Lessons from a Terrible Year

January 3rd, 2023 by

Few thought 2022 would eclipse 2020 and 2021 as a year of PR crises. Wrong. Fortunately, 2022 brought useful lessons for 2023. So, begin 2023 correctly: measure reasonably, use appropriate platforms and own your mistakes promptly.

Adidas and Beyond Meat Prove Time is Your Enemy in a PR Crisis

November 1st, 2022 by

In a PR crisis we know time often is your enemy. Preparation and prompt action are your friends. As such, ‘what took so long?’ is a question you don’t want asked. Unfortunately, it arose for Adidas and its tardy Ye reaction. And it was asked about the slow removal of Beyond Meat’s nose-biting COO.

The Long and Short of Crisis: It’s the Drips that will Kill You

September 6th, 2022 by

The advantages of promptly addressing PR crises are apparent. Yet, some people and their companies just don’t learn.

You Can’t Escape Stupid: Progressive Insurance, Allstate Insurance vs Ernst & Young

July 5th, 2022 by

This month we compare two crises. In both cases, the actions behind the crises had people wondering: What were they thinking? In one case, though, fast action protected the brand and helped make the issue go away. In the other, the crisis is at the very core of the business. Implications for the brand are much longer lasting.

McKinsey, Balfour Beatty: Is it so Hard Coming Up with a Good Excuse These Days?

May 3rd, 2022 by

Several congressional hearings prove companies aren’t heeding crisis communication basics. The results are awful.

Torossian and CNN: Badly-Handled Crises in Our Backyard

February 28th, 2022 by

Two recent crises hit close to home for the PR profession. On February 16, Keith Kelly broke the news in Crain’s New York Business and AdAge that Ronn Torossian, CEO of the 5WPR Agency, secretly purchased an industry newsletter, Everything-PR, and used it to hype his firm and bash rivals. At the same time as Kelly’s article appeared, the war rooms over at CNN were busy. The issue was dealing with revelations of misconduct, ethical lapses and a widely-known-if-never-acknowledged affair.

Lessons from the Worst Communication Blunders of 2021 And What We Can Do About It 

January 4th, 2022 by

Thanks to advertisers and the media’s focus on engagement as a key metric, crises have surfaced and been amplified at a far higher level in 2021 than they were in 2020. Because they bump up engagement numbers, the plague of misinformation, disinformation, rumors and lies skyrocketed to the top of everyone’s news feed and we all got angrier at everything. And, since anger drives engagement and engagement bolsters advertising revenue, the cycle will just get worse in 2022. But there are lessons we can take with us into the new year from all the messes that CEOs made, and PR pros were asked to clean up.

Behind Every Good Crisis There’s Usually an Oversized Ego or Two

October 1st, 2021 by

We’ve written about how founders’ personalities contributed to the downfall of Theranos, WeWork and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” And recently, we saw a similar pattern with the now-defunct media conglomerate Ozy and iconic game show “Jeopardy!.”

Revenue-Hungry Athletic Associations Aren’t ‘Too Big to Fail’ at Crisis PR

July 1st, 2021 by

Whether it’s tennis associations pitted against athletes, NHL hockey teams covering up sexual abuse, the NCAA battling its member universities and athletes, European soccer bosses jousting with fans or organizers of the Tokyo Olympics seemingly ignoring athletes, doctors and the majority of Japanese citizens–the antediluvian approach of these sporting entities to stakeholder communication is inescapable.

Out of Touch: The Super League and Hollywood Foreign Press Association

May 5th, 2021 by

There are a number of organizations that are not in tune with their constituencies. The most obvious recent example is the European Super League, which went from a press release to dissolution in four days. It took longer for all the problems plaguing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and its signature awards, the Golden Globes, to emerge. But both PR disasters resulted from being totally out of touch with stakeholders.